Fun Fun Fun Fest Delivers Music, Comedy, Rap

Rick Jervis, USA TODAY

AUSTIN -- Comic actors singing R&B and goth metal. Sri Lankan female rappers. Hip-hop icons.

Day2 of Fun Fun Fun Fest on Saturday offered a little something foreveryone and culminated with a high-energy, bass-thumping dance set fromM.I.A., the British-Sri-Lankan rapper/performer.

Now in itseighth year, the festival - which draws around 15,000 fans a day - billsitself as a platform for underground indie, punk, metal, dance andhip-hop. The groups play on one of four stages spread across the banksof Colorado River across from downtown Austin.

But as the festivalhas grown, so have its headliners. Friday, Snoop Dogg and former Smithsco-leader Johnny Marr led all shows. On Saturday, it was M.I.A., Ice-Tand Tenacious D, the goth-metal brainchild of Jack Black.

The comedy tent drew some of the thickest crowds, as fest-goerscrammed inside the small tent and spilled out each entrance to catch theacts. Doug Benson attracted a large crowd and steady laughs for hisexploration of smoking dope in hotel rooms, and Craig Robinson (Darrylon TV's The Office) was backed onstage by a full R&B band. Robinson himself played the keyboard and belted out improv takes on classics like I Will Survive and Barry White impressions.

Later,Black and Kyle Gass took the stage as Tenacious D, a satirical rock duothat's been playing and recording for more than a decade. After openingwith Rize of the Fenix, Black greeted his hosts. "I like to call it Tejas," he said, using the Spanish pronunciation for Texas. The crowd sang along and swayed to songs such as Deth Star and the group's big hit, Tribute.

Oneof those crammed in the crowd was Nick Ochoa, 29, who had driven upfrom San Antonio for the festival. "I couldn't breathe," said Ochoa, alongtime Tenacious D fan. "But it was worth it,"

At another stage,rap legend Ice-T reunited his rap-thrash metal hybrid group, BodyCount, for a loud, boisterous set. As fans pulled themselves up on stageand flung themselves back in the crowd, Ice-T strutted around stage,singing hits like KKK B**** and There Goes the Neighborhood.The crowd appeared lukewarm to the rap swagger and guitar solos, untilthe group launched into a stylized tribute to Suicidal Tendencies' Institutionalized, which drew some of the loudest cheers.

Later in the night, Ice-T performed again - this time alone - andreverted back to what made him famous: old-school gansta rap. He seemedmore comfortable in this showing and the fans reacted with sustainedcheers as Ice-T ran through crowd favorites such as I'm Your Pusher and O.G./Original Gangster.

Atlanta-basedindie-rock favorites Deerhunter milled out a set of psychedelicalt-rock tunes, meandering guitar solos and feedback, performing suchsignature songs as Revival, Nothing and Hazel.

Nexton the same stage came Maya Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A. Theset began with the sound of helicopter rotors followed by the recordedvoice of Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor and classifieddocument leaker, complaining about the media's lack of trust. ThenM.I.A. bounded on stage, dressed in a shimmering gold pants suit anddark sunglasses.

The bass thumped a little too loud, at timesdrowning out the rapper's lyrics. But the crowd jammed regardless,dancing to hits such as Bird Flu and Paper Planes, thesingle that shot M.I.A. into superstardom. Her mix of Hindu spiritualchants and sitar loops laced with politically charged rap got the crowdof several thousand dancing and waving their hands.

For her final song, M.I.A. cleared the stage and wailed into the mike alone during Sexodus, one of her recent releases. It was one of the more soulful moments of the set - and the day.


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